Audi’s former chief executive and head of engine development rejected German prosecutors’ allegations related to their roles in the diesel-emissions scandal that rocked the luxury-car maker’s parent Volkswagen AG half a decade ago.
Lawyers for Rupert Stadler and Wolfgang Hatz began laying out their defense Tuesday after prosecutors started making their case last week in a trial near Audi’s headquarters. Stadler is accused of failing to stop the sale of rigged cars in Europe even after U.S. authorities uncovered the engine-rigging scandal in September 2015, while Hatz is alleged to have known about the cheating as early as 2008.
Gerson Trueg, an attorney for Hatz, said there’s no evidence his client was aware of the cheating and insisted he wouldn’t have tolerated illegal conduct at Audi. Stadler’s lawyer Thilo Pfordte lashed out at prosecutors over their tactics, claiming they were designed to force the former CEO to become part of the trial even as allegations against him are less severe than those leveled at Hatz and two other suspects who are former Audi engineers.